As Frank Ocean sits comfortably at the number one spot, following the release of his new album, Blonde, I can honestly say I am not the least bit surprised. Artists, like Beyonce, have been scrambling trying to find unique ways to drop their projects without fading into the background.
Well, if this was a competition of distinction, Frank may have taken the crown.
Since the release of his last album in 2012, fans have been pleading for a follow-up project from Frank. Channel Orange was filled to the brim with classics, providing R&B fans with everything one could want in an album. Frank Ocean basically became a recluse after its release, only to be seen on rare occasions. With every other celebrity clamoring in front of cameras practically begging for fame, Frank’s isolation was somewhat refreshing. He seemed to truly be here for the music, and only the music.
Fans eventually began to get impatient awaiting their beloved Frank Ocean’s return to music. “Pink Matter” had begun to become redundant and “Bad Religion” was reaching its play limit.
Finally, in 2015, Frank promised to release his much-awaited album by the end of July. July came. July went. No album. Fans got restless, taking to social media to release their frustration as they had been brutally betrayed by someone they all thought they could trust.
Time went on, about a year to be exact, and rumors about a Frank Ocean began to circulate yet again. I had dubbed Mr. Ocean as “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and refused to believe it. An album date was released and there was still no album. Going on four years without so much as a tweet regarding any upcoming music, fans began to lose faith.
Then, like a thief in the night, Frank released a live stream of his music via his website. There was a live video of him constructing some sort of staircase. Days later, he released his sophomore album Blonde.
His album easily made its way to number one, which was expected. With ample amounts of anticipation, and such a solid reputation in the music industry, what did anyone expect? However, after listening to his album multiple times, I honestly wonder how he has been spending his time these past four years.
As I was also awaiting his second album I assumed the delay was due to improvements in his artistry. Besides carpentry lessons, what has Frank been up to?
While Blonde is a quality project, I expected there to be an obvious sense of progression. Channel Orange was seething with quality tracks and undeniable classics. Blonde has a few hits and a couple seat fillers. Overall, there are no standout tracks. It is a body of work that is designed to be digested in its entirety.
In my opinion, after waiting over four years for anything, I expect to be blown away. Frank fell short and left me disappointed.